In 1989, BADLANDS Released a Perfect Blues Rock Album

I’ve talked about the year of 1989 before on My Top 15 Rock Albums, Released in 1989 and it’s time to once again travel back to that golden year of rock and examine one of the finest releases that significantly contributed to the overall image of 1989 (and to why I consider it as one of the greatest years of rock).

The band

In life when one door closes, you gotta look for another one to open and make your way out of the darkness. In the late 1980s, prominent guitarist Jake E. Lee was no longer involved with Ozzy Osbourne after a successful tour for the “Ultimate Sin” album, so he had to build a new highway on which to take off. His efforts brought him to a very talented, New York-born vocalist, named Ray Gillen who ironically had just separated from a brief tour/fiasco with Ozzy’s bandmates from Black Sabbath. Two more members were added, both also sharing a history with Black Sabbath – bass player Greg Chaisson and drummer Eric Singer.

All in all, that’s how Badlands came to existence (or at least the very short version of it). The important thing to acknowledge is that regardless of what brought them together, the four members were simply ready to open a new, more exciting page in their careers and with that debut album, they certainly did it. The promising quartet was supposed to last for a while but unfortunately due to inner conflicts, unfavourable music climate and problems with the label, only three albums came out under their name, one of which was a demo release. In 1993, vocalist Ray Gillen passed away (RIP).

The self-titled album

We are here, however, to talk about, remember and listen to their stunning debut album, which makes you ask yourself the question: “If an album is that brilliant, why the hell didn’t it leave a much bigger trace behind its back?”… Needless to say, “Badlands” is a highly underrated killer gem which is a must for any rock fan out there who appreciates and respects good rock musicianship.

The true value of the album is its original sound which can basically be described as early ‘70s Led Zeppelin, meeting ‘80s Sunset-Strip rock scene (no over-the-top craziness, though). “Badlands” is sophisticated, yet fun and highly entertaining. The ways in which those guys managed to capture that fancy blues-vibe that defined the careers of Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, The Yardbirds, The Animals…and mix it so skilfully with refreshing, late ‘80s metal sound, is something you don’t see or hear every day. Once you play “Badlands”, you will receive a significant upgrade to your rock music sensitivity, trust me.

The vocals are breath-taking, no need to question or even talk about the powerful screams of Ray Gillen. One thing that immediately stood out to me, though, was Jake E. Lee’s impressive guitar work, making all the difference. “Badlands” is a guitar-driven album, just like any other blues album out there, but with a modern-day electric flavour, courtesy of this exact same genius I’m talking about – Mr. Lee.

A few words about the songs and I will let you listen in peace. The first two songs – “High Wire” and “Dreams in the Dark” (which by the way got the MTV approval stamp) are marvellous examples of how to show personality in your music and lead the listeners to a new world, going a step away from the polished, sparkling image and sound of the late ‘80s. (“Dreams in the Dark” has always been my favorite songs from the album). “Rumblin’ Train” and “Seasons” are some of the reasons why I consider this album one of the best blues rock albums of all time – it’s difficult to describe the magic surrounding this blues-influenced blissfulness. The stormy “Dancing on the Edge” is another track to watch out for! & it goes on and on…

Old-school minded, ‘80s hard rock bands are important and I strongly recommend Badlands if you are hungry for something distinctive, yet familiar!


“High Wire”

“Devil’s Stomp”

“Dreams in the Dark”


References:
Album cover retrieved from http://ohrenbalsam.blogspot.bg/2011/06/badlands-badlands-cd-1989.html
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[Playlist] 10 Forgotten but Deserving Hard Rock Gems [Part 2]

New media technologies allowed users to upload, share and promote content of any kind, including music. Thanks to platforms, like YouTube, I was able to discover a lot of outstanding, lesser known bands and albums from the ’80s/’90s and enrich my library with rock music that doesn’t just come out of the big acts of the industry. Actually, unearthing these hidden gems which for one reason or another didn’t achieve that big of a commercial success and these days are not particularly on everyone’s minds, is one of my favorite things to do…you just never know what will come out!
I previously wrote a similar publication, which you can check out in case you haven’t : 10 Forgotten but Deserving AOR Classics and now I wanted to once again prepare a little playlist with songs from albums (and entire albums) that might had been in time but still managed to captivate me and found a way into my library. In case you know some of these AOR treasures, now it might be a good time to remember. Let’s go…


Hanover Fist – Hungry Eyes (1985)

hanover

This beauty right here I found while watching videos on YouTube. I was attracted by the album artwork but never expected to become such a fan of this album. The pleasantly obscure, rather heavy release, titled “Hungry Eyes” is actually a re-release of Canadian rockers’ 1983 debut album, with with a slightly different tracklist. I wish I had a long and interesting story but I don’t – the band lasted for about 3 years and that was it…

“Fits Ya Good”, “Hungry Eyes”, “Metal of the Night” – all songs I recommend and truly believe will fit into the playlist of every rock fan out there. Give it a chance:


Fury – Fury (1993)

12

I honestly don’t know much about these guys or this album, because it’s just impossible to unearth any background information. What I do know, however, is that this self-titled 1993 release contains every ingredient I like and enjoy in a melodic rock record. I often go back to this video I accidentally found on YouTube just so I can play this album from start to finish. My favorite songs include “Trouble” and “Higher Ground” – brilliant hooks and selection of sing-alongs.


Persian Risk – Rise Up (1986)

persian risk rise up

I think that many people probably know or have heard about the NWOBHM band Persian Risk but I also think that it’s high time I refreshed your memories of them. The British band formed in the late ’70s and actually have a long story so if you’re into that genre, go ahead and dig deeper. I have Carl Sentance – their vocalist (who is now fronting Nazareth) to thank for giving me a heads up on their stunning albums. “Rise Up” – their debut 1986 release is one of the gems you simply must hear. “Jane” has to be one of their most memorable songs. Check it out:


Stage Dolls – Stage Dolls (1988)

10

This album I found as I was casually browsing through YouTube (thankfully). I knew that they had to be from somewhere other than the UK or the USA and I was right. Stage Dolls is actually a Norwegian band, formed in the early ’80s. Their self-titled 1989 album is actually their junior one, released in Norway first and becoming a total hit over there. Not so sure about becoming a hit everywhere else, but with songs like “Still in Love” and “Waitin’ For You”, they are true winners in my book. Another proof that Norwegians just know how to make rock music!!


Von Groove – Von Groove (1992)

von groove

A great example of early ’90s hard rock – it was excellent (but overlooked) albums like this one that kept the spirit of the genre alive, against the upcoming grunge invasion. The Canadian band Von Groove’s debut album is everything you can ever ask for if you are a fan of this type of music. Terrific songs like “Once Is Not Enough” or “Better than Ever” will give you a clearer picture of what I’m saying.


Silent Rage – Don’t Touch Me There (1989)

silent rage

LA might at its finest! Oh, boy – this album is pure fire!! “Don’t Touch Me There” is the band’s sophomore release and in my opinion their finest hour. Led by the talented Jesse Damon, Silent Rage is definitely one of those bands who grab you by the throat and don’t let go. I simply love this album! “I Wanna Feel It Again”, “Rebel With a Cause” and the power ballad, “Tonight You’re Mine” – all stunning examples of late ’80s hard rock.


Saints & Sinners – Saints & Sinners (1992)

saints&sinners1992

Saints & Sinners – another Canadian band with tons of unrealized potential. Their 1992 release remained the band’s first and final effort. The timing wasn’t right and the album just couldn’t stand against the alternative scene, occupying everyone’s attention.

Simply put, you love glam metal, if you love catchy riffs and solid rocking melodies, colored by magnificent vocals, you will LOVE this album. I would definitely point “Wheels of Fire” and “Walk the Walk” as my two favorite tracks from it so go ahead and check them out:


Jagged Edge – Fuel for Your Soul (1990)

Jagged Edge U.K.

Lesser-known English band with an outstanding Swedish vocalist – Matti Alfonzetti. I found “Fuel for Your Soul” as I was browsing through YouTube and the opening track immediately caught my attention. Jagged Edge, unfortunately, split up after the release of this album and we couldn’t really observe how and what will they develop into but hey – we have this album which is full of memorable rockers that can stand against the bigger hits of the era. I highly recommend those guys and not just because of the killer vocals…


Helix – Wild in the Streets (1987)

helix wild in the streets

Canadian band Helix achieved great success in the beginning of their career and still are adored by fans from all over the world (including me). However, this album right here – “Wild in the Streets” somehow always remains forgotten when we talk about them. “Walkin’ the Razor’s Edge”, “No Rest for the Wicked” and “Long Way to Heaven” always take the spotlight.

“Wild in the Streets” couldn’t really bring a lot of attention and commercial success to the band which led to them losing their U.S. deal with Capitol Records. I never understood why this album wasn’t appreciated! I mean, we have a brilliant cover of Nazareth’s “Dream On” and of course “She’s too Tough”, written by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. The album offers so much more, though…I hope you all agree with me.


Lionsheart – Lionsheart (1992)

Lionsheart_-_Lionsheart

Lionsheart formed in the early 90s in the UK. Overall, they released four albums and one live one before calling it quits in the early 2000s. They weren’t that big in the continent, however achieved success in Japan.

This time, I would like to focus on their 1992 coming out party with their self-titled album “Lionsheart” which is ready to satisfy every hard-rock thirsty soul out there. The sound is very aggressive and hard-edged; the album offers an experience that will knock your socks off. “Had Enough” and “World of Pain” are the songs to watch out for (along with the others of course). 


References:
Photos fetched from: amazon.com / Wikipedia / discogs.com
Videos retrieved from YouTube
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Focus: INGLORIOUS – II (2017)

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

What a year! What a time to be alive!! I am immensely proud to have the chance to witness such beautiful rock music being released during my time and I just cannot wait to spread my excitement to every rock fan out there, hungry for something refreshing. I met Inglorious in 2016 after the release of their critically-acclaimed debut album Inglorious I. Their coming-out party was praised by rock&roll icons, such as Queen’s Brian May who called Inglorious “a potent young Deep Purple.” Noted producer Kevin Shirley who worked with Journey, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, Europe, Mr. Big and many more, referred to them as “the best British band since Led Zeppelin.” That should tell you enough, don’t you think?

ingl 2 coverAs far as I’m concerned, it was their sophomore album – Inglorious II, released via Frontiers Music in May 12, 2017 that took my work by storm and earned my utter admiration and respect. It all starts with one single life-changing song…The moment I heard “I Don’t Need Your Loving”, I just knew that it has the potential of becoming one of the top rock tracks of 2017 and not just in my book. The rest is history. I guarantee that listening to this sophomore album from start to finish will open doors to new and exciting rock adventures you’ve never even dreamed of. We have a couple of months left till we wrap up 2017 but I am fully certain that “Inglorious II” will dominate the yearly “top albums” charts and lists of fans and music media outlets. Let’s dive into the album and the songs…

Inglorious make straightforward, mind-blowing and 100% authentic hard rock, respectfully following the ways of ‘70s rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. With that in mind, vocalist Nathan James, lead guitarist Andreas Eriksson, guitarist Wil Taylor, bass guitarist Colin Parkinson and drummer Phil Beaver recorded a heavenly-organic, modern-day / classic rock album that brings nothing but satisfaction to every little rock&roll heart out there. The magic of “Inglorious II” wasn’t taken out of the hat of a legendary producer. The right words and production tricks were all done by the members themselves, which makes it even more exceptional.

Arguably, the first thing that strikes you when you play this album is the out-of-this-world vocal strength of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Nathan James. My jaw is dropping every time I hear him sing and I can’t but be amazed by his celestial talent. Not only did he reach higher personal vocal achievements with this album but he also put many current high-ranked celebrity singers in his little back pocket. Of course, a band is much more than a vocalist. The album is the product of a great teamwork, writing each song by themselves with no guest writers this time. They said, “It came together very organically after spending time touring together and felt great. We knew we were making an album this time too! We focused on getting our sounds just right so we could get into the studio and out in the least time poss.”

12 classy rockers came out of “Inglorious II”, each better than the previous. The Whitesnake-inspired opener, “I Don’t Need Your Loving” is basically what pure electricity would sound like.  The fiery riffs, along with Nathan’s high-pitched, intense vocal delivery give you a clear picture of what to expect from this release. From Whitesnake, we go to Bad Company with “Tell Me Why” which has that soulful, slow-paced favour…till it transforms into a dangerous speedy rocket, destroying everything on its way. “Change is Coming” is another song to watch out for – the bluesy, Glenn-Hughes-style track is for all the bass-guitar lovers out there, looking for that “deeper” vibe. “Making me Pay” is another bluesy charmer and the perfect bridge between the first and second part of the album. The heavy metal thunder “Hell or High Water” will please the fans, looking for a speedier, blood-stirring experience. The adventure ends with “High Class Woman” – a pleasantly intriguing catchy rock track that reminds you that you now must play the album all over again because it just can’t be over so soon.

Don’t you just love it when once in a blue moon a newly-formed band comes in and entirely conquers you? I surely do.  “Inglorious II” combines the sounds and styles of classic rock icons but all that is wrapped under divine, modern-day rock power and individuality many rock bands these days lack. Nothing more to say – grab your copy just like I did and play it as loud as possible!

 


“I Don’t Need Your Loving”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Taking The Blame”

 

 

 

 

 

“Making Me Pay”

 

 

 

“Read All About It”

 


References:
“Inglorious II” Album Page: http://www.frontiers.it/album/5377
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Album Recommendations: “Paul Laine – Stick It in Your Ear” (1990)

Is It Love

 

I met Paul Laine through Danger Danger (of course). He jumped in as their frontman for the junior album – “Dawn” (1995) and stood around for a decade of releases, before officially calling it quits. Paul went on to form his own bands, Shugaazer and Darkhorse. In 2016, he once again teamed up with former Danger Danger bandmates Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello to release a self-titled album – “The Defiants”. Check them all out in case you haven’t.

Paul Laine’s ‘90s solo albums are the reason why we’re here, though. I am actually in love with both Stick It in Your Ear (1990) and Can’t Get Enuff (1996), however wanted to specifically draw your attention to the first album which I personally like a little bit more.

“Stick It in Your Ear” is a pure manifestation of the Canadian vocalist’s immense vocal power and ability to craft melodic rock at its finest. The album is one big ball of rock energy, for sure, mixed well with delightful accessibility and radio-friendly polished production. The album is certainly far away from any of those shiny LA hard rock bands who wrote music with their wallet rather than heart and that’s exactly why I find it so charming.

Late ‘80s, early ‘90s releases have so much more to offer and this album right here is certainly something to consider adding to your AOR collection in case you haven’t.

Some of the highlights include the Top100 singles “Dorianna” and “Is It Love” – both stunning examples of well-crafted melodic rock music.  

“Is It Love” is dangerously obsessive and definitely my favorite one from the release. Every power ballad hungry person out there will be thrilled, believe me. That’s the reason why I opened this publication with it. Check out “Dorianna”:

Dorianna

“We are the Young” is another track to watch out for.

“One Step Over the Line” has a very unique intro, which I think all of you should hear. You know what, why don’t you just play the entire album. Thank you, Paul Laine. It’s definitely never too late to discover a forgotten gem like this one….


References:
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

BOSTON’s “Don’t Look Back” or How to Make a Sophomore Comeback with Style

Fans refer to many commercially successful rock bands who became widely popular in the ’70s and early ’80s as “classic rock bands”. When someone says “classic rock” (though these days the term became a little bit vague), what’s the first band that comes to your mind? To me, that band has always been Boston for certain. Not so much because it falls under the umbrella of a certain “term” or “radio format” but because Boston has the most classic, universally-beloved, timeless, evergreen sound that just doesn’t grow old.

Boston-1We all know the significance of Boston‘s 1976 self-titled debut album; I bet there’s not a single rock soul in the world who has never sang along with radio hit songs like “More Than a Feeling”. I have a whole publication about this album, which you can check here -> Why is BOSTON’s Debut Album One Of The Greatest Albums Of All Time

Boston’s smashing debut album was followed up by a long list of unexpected but widely-welcomed circumstances including becoming the second best-selling debut album of all time (first one being “Appetite for Destruction”, of course), turning into one of America’s most appreciated rock albums and establishing absolute dominance over all radio stations. Topping an era-defining album with such a strong impact is certainly an obstacle many rock bands can’t really overcome. Not Boston, though.

boston dont look back 19782 years after the release of “Boston”, the band came back with “Don’t Look Back”. As it was expected, the sophomore album didn’t really match the commercial strength of the debut one; however to many critics and fans (me included), “Don’t Look Back” still remains one of the most worthy sophomore comebacks of all time. Also, getting certified 7x Platinum is certainly something to consider.

“Don’t Look Back” wasn’t exactly released in the most pleasurable industry environment as the band or should I just say, Mr. Everything – Tom Scholz kicked off a legal battle with their record label.

Still, “Don’t Look Back” turned out to be equally impressive and received a well-deserved place among the ultimate classics of the era. One unfortunate thing about it is of course, its length. “Don’t Look Back” spreads over 8 songs only, 2 of which are under 3 minutes. That’s a little bit short for an album and turned out to be one of the reasons why Tom Scholz went on a war with the record label.

Whether it was rushed or not, the essence of the album, however, is what’s important here. I try to stay informed about the background stories and environments under which rock albums were crafted and released, but ultimately, it’s the sound, the music, the songs are all that’s left 30, 40, 50+ years later.

Three songs were released as singles – “Don’t Look Back”, “A Man I’ll Never Be” and “Feelin’ Satisfied”. Don’t think these songs need an introduction or fancy musical descriptions – they are way above that. Especially, “A Man I’ll Never Be” which has to be in my Top3 Boston songs of all time and certainly one of the most gentle and emotional rock ballads of all time.

“A Man I’ll Never Be”

“Feelin’ Satisfied”

“Don’t Look Back”

The 2-minute instrumental “The Journey” is often forgotten, despite its pivotal role in the album. To some, it may be a bit difficult to absorb but the way I see it, it’s a pretty well-placed musical piece that divides the two harder rocking songs “Don’t Look Back” and “It’s Easy”.

“The Journey”

Ultimately, Boston is…well Boston. I do like the first album a little bit more than this one,  despite critics claiming that “Don’t Look Back” was indeed a solid musical progression. I agree that Boston do sound more confident and the sophomore release does possess a more joyful vibe but I have an emotional attachment to the first one, so don’t listen to me, really.

There’s also this little part of me that cannot (or maybe doesn’t want to) divide those first two albums. I consider them just two parts of one bigger whole – maybe even as just one album. “Don’t Look Back” is like a side2 to “Boston” and I just love playing them one after the other.

Share your memories of “Don’t Look Back” below the publication or on Twitter; I would love to know what you think of this album and which is your favorite song:

 

boston dont look back 1
Me, holding a copy of “Don’t Look Back” which i bought during 2017’s “Record Store Day”

boston dont look back 2


References:
Album artwork, retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Look-Back-Boston/dp/B00Q99V0PA
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

[MIXTAPE] Favorite Ballads by THUNDER

thunder band

Lately I’ve been in a heavy Thunder mood. I think this might be due to the recent CD I purchased with their greatest hits. Thunder is one of those bands who should’ve been up there with the rest of the big names of rock music. Even though they released their debut album – “Backstreet Symphony” in 1990, which was certainly not the best time to release a hard rock album, the British rockers still captured the hearts and souls of die-hard rock fans who just know talent when they see it.

I’ve been a fan of Thunder since the moment I heard “Love Walked In” back in the day. The song just means the world to me. My instant connection with the band’s sound and of course, the brilliant vocals of Danny Bowes, led me to this moment right here…

The majority of rock fans who know or have heard of Thunder are familiar with “Love Walked In” which is arguably their most popular song. However, if you think that this is the only quality rock ballad Thunder made throughout their long and prolific career, you are so terribly wrong.

Since I’m one of those people who live for rock ballads, I decided to make a little “mixtape” with just a few of my favorite ballads by a band I adore so much – Thunder. Some of those might be new to you – which is awesome, please enjoy them; if, however you are familiar with those tracks, sit back, relax and relive the memories…


“A Better Man”

thunder laughing on judgement day


“Low Life In High Places”

thunder laughing on judgement day


“Like A Satellite”

thunder laughing on judgement day


“Once In A Lifetime”

thunder their finest hour


“Castles In The Sand”

thunder behind


“Love Walked In”

thunder-backstreet-symphony


“Right from the Start”

rip-it-up-thunder


References:
Band photo retrieved from: http://www.thunderonline.com/www/band
Album covers retrieved from Wikipedia and Google Images.
THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Celebrating The 37th Anniversary of AC/DC’s “Back In Black”

It’s been 37 years since this album changed the name of the industry and is still going as strong as ever. There’s not a rock fan in this world who has never heard of AC/DC or haven’t yet experienced that deafening musical strength “Back in Black” carries within. 

ac dcWe all know the facts – AC/DC lost their frontman Bon Scott in the beginning of 1980. The decision on whether to continue as a band or not had to be taken (and it had to be taken quickly). Following up the tragic death of the voice and face of the band, AC/DC were facing numerous difficulties and the thought of quitting wasn’t that far actually. Newly-recruited frontman, Brian Johnson was also dealing with many obstacles as the new vocalist. Things were shaky there for a while BUT thanks to one brilliant producer, famous for his precision and obsession with achieving the perfect sound, AC/DC crafted a sound that ended up bringing “Back in Black” the “second-best selling album of all time” title (the first is, of course, MJ’s “Thriller”.) That’s right, I’m talking about the influential producer Mutt Lange who stepped in with brand new approaches and guided the birth of “Back in Black” – an album that perfectly captured the electrifying energy, astonishing technical and lyrical arrangements and a new and reborn AC/DC, ready to take over the world. The album was released in 1980 and it quickly became their most critically respected album. It spawned 4 huge singles – “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Hells Bells”, “Back in Black” and “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, all of which redefined hard rock music and left a mark that can never be erased!

Whatever I say about this album would be totally useless. Why? Well, because if rock&roll was a kingdom, this album would be its prince. Everyone loves it, overplayed or not; everyone sings along with anthems like “Back in Black” or “Have a Drink on Me”. Here’s to 37 more years!

What is your favorite track? Personally, I gotta go with “Have a Drink on Me” or the title song. Hearing those opening riffs is a moment of epiphany for every young rock fan out there…

“Back in Black”

“Hells Bells”

“Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”

“You Shook Me All Night Long”


References:

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.